OBJECTIVES: There is increasing prevalence of caesarean sections (CS) worldwide; however, there are concerns about their rates in some countries, including potential fears among mothers. Consequently, we aimed to determine the frequency of CS, and explore patient's perception towards CS attending public hospitals in Pakistan, to provide future guidance.
METHODS: A two-phased study design (retrospective and cross sectional) was adopted. A retrospective study was conducted to assess the frequency of CS over one year among four public hospitals. A cross sectional study was subsequently conducted to determine patients' perception towards CS attending the four tertiary care public hospitals in Quetta city, Pakistan, which is where most births take place.
RESULTS: Overall prevalence of CS was 13.1% across the four hospitals. 728 patients were approached and 717 responded to the survey. Although 78.8% perceived CS as dangerous, influenced by education (p = 0.004), locality (p = 0.001) and employment status (p = 0.001), 74.5% of patients were in agreement that this is the best approach to save mother's and baby's lives if needed. 62% of respondents reported they would like to avoid CS if they could due to post-operative pain, and 58.9% preferred a normal delivery. There was also a significant association with education (p = 0.001) and locality (p = 0.001) where respondents considered normal vaginal delivery as painful.
CONCLUSION: The overall frequency of CS approximates to WHO recommendations, although there is appreciable variation among the four hospitals. When it comes to perception towards CS, women had limited information. There is a need to provide mothers with education during the antenatal period, especially those with limited education, to accept CS where needed.
- cesarean section
- public hospitals